Work or Family – No Contest

A president of a certain company became a mum and wrote an article saying that she is “sorry to all the mothers I worked with”. The article can be found here

I am not a full time working mum and made my choice to stay home with my kids before they were even born. But I don’t see it as necessary to impose my own preference on other mums. I know every family situation is different and every mum has different needs. 

Yes, us mums have needs too.

Stay-home mum or working mum, we all have our needs. Stay-home mums need that every-now-and-then me-time away from the kids and every day chores. Working mums need time away from work and be with their children. And this is a daily need.

I recently started doing some work from home and have been offered more assignments than I had expected. I must say that I am thankful for the offers because it means that someone sees potential in me. While taking up the assignments mean more pocket money for me, I had to turn some of them down. I don’t want to compromise the time I have with my children, or the quality of work I am capable of. 

One of my friends who is a full time working mum, read the same article and wrote her thoughts, which I think hits the nail on the head. 

Sharing with her permission, this is what Thimah says.

“This is a hot topic in my household and amongst my network of colleagues past and present. We all have varying experiences of prejudice or support at the workplace. I think the key to finding that happy medium is making informed choices FOR yourself, BY yourself; ones you can honour without regrets.

Regardless of how big an opportunity and how attractive the salary package is, I always make it clear that I have a firm commitment to my child, to my family. It is up to the organisation to decide if they want to ‘risk’ hiring someone who commits to being dedicated to producing quality work AND to being an involved-parent.

I have been very lucky to have met employers on both ends of the spectrum – ones who appreciate my dedication to family and to a good work track record and, ones who assume mothers are employees who do not get the give the best bang for their buck. The latter always makes for great experience in helping one be more discerning towards such prejudiced employers while also appreciative of the ones who welcome and recognise the merits of hiring an efficient, level-headed, multi-tasking extraordinaire that is the working mom.

I have NEVER ALLOWED anyone to make me feel any less capable for choosing a pay cut to work less hours so that I could have more time with my son.

This archaic idea of clocking in extra face-time at work just to seem productive is in fact, so idiotic. I am so damn good that I can finish my work within my working hours and feel awesome when I waltz out the door.

The notion of ‘being at the office beyond your stipulated hours equates to your perceived increased value as an employee’, should be obliterated and the only ones feeding this notion and keeping it alive are the naive and the uninitiated.

I lead my team with the same ethos. My responsibility as a Head is to impart the values and the professional ethics I subscribe to, to help shape my team’s thought process and approach to work. And that includes supporting and encouraging fellow women to stop seeing motherhood as a career-killer.

Take control, Moms. Call the shots. A job is just that, a job. At least to me it is.

It is to feed my intellect, keep me engaged, enable me to partake in activities I enjoy and be paid while doing all the above and more. It is not the be-all and end-all, especially when you have kids. Work more and get paid more so that you can afford more luxuries and enrichment classes for your child? Pfffft. Please. Ain’t no luxury better than time spent with your precious little ones. I’d choose that over any job that pays me a fortune to be chained to the proverbial desk all day.”

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